MOORHEAD - Emir Kurti is ready to cater to both your sweet tooth and your meat tooth.

Kurti is the owner of Taste of Europe, a tiny ethnic foods grocery now open downtown at 106 5th St. S.

The 23-year-old has poured himself into getting the tiny shop set up in the last month. Even as shipments of meats, cheeses, breads, beverages, chocolates, cakes, and other sweets are still coming in to fill his shelves, Kurti’s stock is high with lovers of European goodies.

“It’s been busy the last two days,” he said Tuesday, Dec. 15. “I have 80 Facebook messages a day. Facebook has been blowing up the last two days. A lot of people are putting out the word, sharing it.”

The shop carries items from Russia, Ukraine, Albania, Germany, Bosnia, Italy, and other nations. It fronts Fifth Street, just off Main Avenue, next to Sportland in a former pet furniture store.

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 Chocolates from Russia are among the foods for sale at Taste of Europe in Moorhead. 
David Samson / The Forum
Chocolates from Russia are among the foods for sale at Taste of Europe in Moorhead. David Samson / The Forum

He chose Moorhead because Fargo already has several European-focused stores. “I went with a different location to not be by them,” he said.

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Still, it wasn’t easy coming up with a storefront. Landlords were wary of signing a lease with a new small business in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, the former over-the-road trucker drove on. He made out five lease applications before the sixth became the charm.

Taste of Europe in Moorhead offers a variety of unique dairy products. David Samson / The Forum
Taste of Europe in Moorhead offers a variety of unique dairy products. David Samson / The Forum

He’s done a lot of work himself to turn the former 45 Degree Kennels spot into a grocery.

It helped that the previous tenants had modernized the storefront, including installing new floors.

“This is the first thing I built,” he said tapping the front counter. “It took 40 hours.”

At the front of the shop is a nook turned into a lounge area. Rather than fill it with stock, it has a table, some chairs, and a couch for relaxing.

A Bosnian flag, blue and yellow with white stars, hangs in a back corner of the store, a nod to his heritage.

The shop will carry halal and non-halal meats. They’ll be kept cool or frozen in their own refrigerators and freezers - beef, lamb and other non-pork meats separated from pork products.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

The shop has a Facebook presence as Taste of Europe.

“I put a lot of time into it to make sure it’s what I want to do,” Kurti said. “I just kind of want it to be like a new thing for people to try out.”